Scripture Reading: Mark 1:4-11
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. — Mark 1:4
A warm shower and a brisk toweling off feels especially good after completing a particularly dirty task. My dad did custom hay baling when I was a child. He would come home at noon for what we called dinner. He and my brother who helped him would be covered with dirt and the lint of dried mown grass. Dad would step down from the pickup, walk straight to the old hand pump that still stood in front of our house (still worked also), pump a bucket full of cold water and immediately pour it over its head. Watching it run down his clothing reminded me of Psalm 23: [God] anoints my head with oil.
John’s baptism was such a cleansing experience. It was an outward expression of an inward restitution of wholeness to a torn soul in need of forgiveness and receiving God’s forgiveness. We all still need that today. John knew there was more to come, but at that time in that place such cleansing was the best he could do and he answered that call.
We of course know the rest of the story as we live in a post Immanuel-with-us world. Because of that we have an even more compelling call to bring the hope of wholeness and restitution of souls to the brokenness in our world.
Prayer: Lord, make me whole, make me one with you and with the other members of the Body of Christ in the world today. So nourished, send us forth with the gift of hope for the oppressed and the oppressor, for the broken hearted and those who no longer feel anything positive, and for all the sin sick souls. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.